Good Literature as Therapy and More

Reading good books nourishes the soul and mind. It strengthens us emotionally and intellectually.  It gives us ideas and characters to think about and learn from.  Good stories fill the imagination and crowd out petulance and worry, selfishness and hamster wheel cycles of unsolvable worries.  They give us mental vacations from our problems and at the same time, tools that can help us deal with those problems.

Another value of all good literature is in cultivating within us the ability to see other perspectives, developing the imagination that allows to put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes.

If you cannot accurately and fairly and humanely lay out the position of those you disagree with, you don’t really have a position of your own, but rather, a caricature of yourself as well as others. Shakespeare and other great literature is at its best not when we nod to ourselves smugly and say ‘yes, he says exactly what I think,’ but when it surprises us and we think, “Oh. I never thought of it that way before.”

 

But mostly, good stories are worth reading because we are humans and good stories are good stories.  It’s axiomatic but also true.

 

(see also:

good stories.  It’s axiomatic but also true.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/26/move-over-freud-literary-fiction-is-the-best-therapy)

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